November 15, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I needed that word to tell me who I was when everything else was coming apart around me. But now I'm wondering if I need it anymore, if we ever really need these words, "Dauntless," "Erudite," "Divergent," "Allegiant," or if we can just be friends or lovers or siblings, defined instead by the choices we make and the love and loyalty that binds us.
-from Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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I think many people would agree that Allegiant has been the most anticipated YA release of 2013. The third and final installment of Veronica Roth's Divergent series picks up right where Insurgent left off: Tris Prior learns that her world of factions is just a small ecosystem in a much larger world, created to help defend the outside world with Divergent. With Evelyn Johnson abolishing factions and running the city like a tyrant, Tris and Tobias head outside the city limits to discover the world beyond.

I  have incredibly mixed feelings about Allegiant, but at the end of the day I enjoyed it, especially because of the ending which I will not spoil for you. Unfortunately the book started with a bad taste in my mouth because of all these Four novellas Roth is releasing to lead up to the Divergent movie release. I enjoyed Free Four to get me through the wait between books, but a whole series of Four novellas just to pump the movie? I think the series does better without them and all I see them as is a ploy for more money. It's money, I get it. But overall I think it chips away at the credibility of the Divergent trilogy and franchise. I find it's insulting to loyal readers, especially considering it would have made more sense to appease us in between the actual books. I think I would have been more receptive if it was one book from Four's perspective instead of four cheap teasers. I read The Transfer right before I read Allegiant, and, even though it was a sound novella, it left a bad taste in my mouth because of all the reasons above. I didn't trust Roth as an author anymore because now I feel she's just in it for the money. Not the best way to begin a new book!

Overall this novel seemed very aimless to me. I never felt like there was a distinct arc that I could follow and consequently found it difficult to gauge how far along with the book I had read. I suppose I could give Roth the benefit of the doubt that she wants the reader to feel as aimless as Tris, but given my previous rant, I was too disheartened to believe this. If not for the great ending, I would have been extremely disappointed in the book overall.

Another difficult part of this book to reconcile is the extreme change in scenery, which reminded me of Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. The change of primary setting from the first two books took me out of my comfort zone as a reader. I never realize how a constant setting plays such an integral role in a series until it's taken away and the new setting takes some adjustment. This isn't a criticism of the writing because I understand it was necessary, but it might have played into why I felt this book was so aimless.

At the end of the day, though, Roth is still an incredible writer and she can't go wrong with the cast of characters she has created. The themes of identity and being capable of creating ones own future are strong in this book and there are a lot of important lessons Tris and Tobias learn together. I could go on about various parts of this book, but I don't want to imply any spoilers. Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed every ounce of Tris' adventure, especially her evolving ideas of right and wrong. She remains one of my favorite female protagonists and a reason why I'll always recommend this series to other readers.

Bottom Line: My feelings are so mixed, but overall I recommend this book and series, especially if you've already invested the time in the first two books in the series. 3.5/5 stars, but I'm rounding up for the ending.

1 comment:

  1. ha,
    typical young adult romance. at least it's not like twilight series, which for me is bleh.
    i'll read this one.


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